To reboot or not?

I was having this discussion with a friend last night about the topic of reboots and remakes and decided it deserved a full-blown write up.

So, I recently got Netflix (yes, yes, “welcome to the ’90s son”) and have been watching it non-stop.  First was a bunch of movies I hadn’t yet seen and didn’t want to put off any longer, and then came the TV shows…   all of Heroes, The Event, Alphas, first season of the British Shameless…and then I went hunting for movies again, and ended up watching Taps.

First off, Taps is a great movie, fantastic acting and a great cast (even if for some of them it was their first movie), and as I’m watching it, I’m thinking “now THIS…..THIS is a movie worthy of being updated to modern times with a remake”.  As the movie was nearing it’s conclusion and I’m watching the scene with Timmothy Hutton and Tom Cruise, an odd thing happened.  The part of me that felt this was a movie worthy of a remake stood up and shouted “They can NEVER remake this movie.  Ever”.

Now, there were a few reasons I came to that conclusion.  One, In this day and age, you just couldn’t.  Without giving too much away for those that haven’t seen it…kids at a military academy find out their school is closing to make way for condos, and decide to ‘defend their home’ the only way they’ve been taught.   Now, current social and political climate being what it is, I don’t think that kind of a movie could ever be remade.  Not because it doesn’t resonate, but because I think you’d be hard pressed to find a studio to touch it with a 10-foot pole.  Second, as much as the medium might resonate, I think it resonates for a different reason.  Back when I was growing up, I think “dads” everyewhere were kind of nearing the end of the “If you don’t shape up it’s off to military school with you!” phase…  so I don’t think the setting fits anymore, and if you get rid of the setting, you lose the movie in my opinion.   Third?  Besides the tone, the setting and current climate, I just don’t think you can remake it because I don’t see a remake being better…and if you’re not going to make it better…why make it?  Yeah, I know “It’s all about the Benjamins” but, at some point, it’s not.  I stand up and cheer when I hear things like “They didn’t reboot The Thing because the director said there’s no way in hell to make it better than the John Carpenter version”…which is why they made it a prequel…but at some point, I’d think pride enters in.  to me, very few ‘reboots/remakes’ stand up to the original.  Ocean’s 11 comes to mind (though, there were various differences to the films), The Nolan Batman series, (even including The Dark Knight Rises which I was not crazy about) also was a worth reboot (yet a soft spot for the Keaton Batman movies still lives on),  I even thought Dawn of the Dead reboot was worth it. But…there have been others…  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Red Dawn, Superman Returns just to name a few….that were best put to a merciful end well before the storyboard phase.

Then there are other remakes/reboots on the horizon that I’m already dreading.   The Crow for starters.  First off, let me say this.  The first movie was “Good”.  It was not “great”, but it was damn good.  Did it follow James O’Barr’s book faithfully?  Not exactly, but the tone of it surely did.  Putting that aside, the movie gained cult status, and the untimely demise of Brandon Lee should, right there, make the movie untouchable.  But (and there’s always a ‘but’) Hollywood buried the franchise under increasingly worse sequels, and now someone feels the only way the franchise would be financially viable is if it were started over.  Rumor is James McAvoy might be pegged for the lead.  I love McAvoy, I think he’s a great actor.  The movie still should not be remade.  Same holds true for Highlander.  Ryan Reynolds is supposed to be playing the titular MacLeod and, while I like watching Ryan, I think it’s laughable that now since he was good as Deadpool in his small snippet of X-Men Origins : Wolverine he seems to be the “it” guy when it comes to ‘movies about guys who use swords’.  Highlander should not be remade because once again, cult status, and…not even talking about Lambert…who would play Ramirez?  The Kurgan?  No matter WHAT anyone does, those rolls will ALWAYS be held up to the litmus that was Connery and Clancey Brown….and you can’t ever change that.

All this being said, I’m not completely against remakes or reboots…sometimes they just “work”, but I feel they have to be topical and still resonate, somehow offer something better than the original (not just ‘a different take’), and be able to be a good remake without shitting all over the original.

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Fred Claus (2007)

Fred Claus Poster

I don’t really have a caption for this.

There have been countless movies and stories told of the legend of Santa Claus, obese saint and deliverer of presents to all good children all around the world, provided those good children celebrate Christmas. The mythos describes this jolly samaritan being married, and hanging out with a bunch of elves who toil endlessly illegally producing these brand name toys that find their way under the tree, but very few give Saint Nick a family outside of that. So, pour yourself a tall cup of cocoa or a glass of non-alcoholic egg nog and gather around, boys and girls, and allow me to tell you a review about the story of one such family member, Santa’s brother, Fred Claus.

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Reviewers Assemble…

So, it’s been a while. Real life has settled down a bit and right around the time I was thinking “I should get back into doing some movie reviews” I started noticing some new posts from Pants and Shock and figured this would be a good time to ease back into the pool so to speak. But, to keep from feeling the uncomfortableness of putting on an already wet bathing suit, I’m going to depart from the world of Bond and review the most recent movie I’ve seen, Marvel’s The Avengers….

…yes, unlike the rest of the human race, I just recently saw this for the first time on DVD. Go ahead and laugh…I’ll wait….

Where to begin? Robert Downey Jr. returns as Iron Man with all the other pieces of this puzzle playing their previous solo roles… Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow…the list goes on…and joining them for the first time in the role is Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. I will also add one other name to this list as I feel it’s important.. Joss Whedon.

Why do I add Joss into the mix? Because having been a huge fan of Firefly and Serenity, I couldn’t watch The Avengers without seeing Joss’ brilliant little fingerprints all over it. He’s a master when it comes to large ensemble casts, and as large as this one was, it didn’t feel like anyone was slighted for face time. Everyone got their own chance to shine, and no one felt watered down and didn’t get their character personality across. The only one that might fit that bill is Evans…but Cap is such a straight-laced guy to begin with, it could have felt that way since he didn’t have as many ‘yuks’ as everyone else.

Action? Check. Acting? Check. Fantastic CGI? Check. There was also an amazing balance of comedy to drama to action, with the comedy being near perfectly inserted at the right moments.

There was of course, as there seems to be in most/all Joss Whedon endeavors…that moment where the viewer gets kicked in the nads and screams at the screen “Damn you Joss! Damn you for making me hate the fact that I love your work you wicked, evil, brilliant man!”. Joss Whedon has a knack for making you care about everyone in the film, which can be a hard thing to do. Then, something cruel happens. Just as you’ve come to adore and admire everyone Mr. Whedon puts on the screen before you, he wipes one of them off the face of the earth with no warning save for a subtle pause in the action that leads the viewing audience into a false sense of security. Fact is, it makes you concerned more for those who are left. Joss is silently saying to the viewing audience “That. Just. Happened. And now you realize that no one is safe, so don’t assume who will make it to the end and who will not”.

In the end, it all turns out as is should….winners winning and losers losing and all…though possibly not how folks might think it will. The Avengers was a brilliant ride, and with the sequel already green-lit, it seems appropriate to close with some dialogue between Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders as SHIELD Agent Maria Hill…

Hill Sir, how does it work now? They’ve gone their separate ways, some pretty extremely far. We get into a situation like this again, what happens then?
Fury : They come back
Hill : You really sure about that?
Fury : I am.
Hill : Why?
Fury : Because we’ll need them to.

GRADE : A+

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Piranha 3D (2010)

A poster paying homage to the original film, which payed homage to Jaws. Circle of life.

Not many people are very familiar with Alexandre Aja, so I may have been the only person I know that saw this movie initially ONLY because he was the director. He did the re-make of The Hills Have Eyes, Mirrors, and Haute Tension (High Tension for the US theatrical release), among others. These movies (with the exception of Haute Tension, which he also co-wrote) aren’t really known for their stories. No, what Alexandre Aja is probably most known for is his special effects. He doesn’t over-use and abuse CGI, so I knew when I saw a preview for this that he was the man for the job.

Was I right?
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Splice (2009)

"Sexy" is more than a little misleading. "Ew" would be more appropriate.

If Species made a sequel with a sort of X-Files romantic vibe and added trace amounts of questionable moral justifications and gray areas filled with inter-species pedophilia and corporate greed all driven by pretty decent CGI, you’d have this little gem.

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The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

It’s 1977, and Roger Moore is playing Bond for the third time and behind the scenes, the franchise enters new territory with an original script that uses only the title of Flemming’s 10th book.
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Some thoughts on the banning of Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)

So much fail.

In case you were unaware, there is an upcoming sequel to Human Centipede that has been made and is due out shortly. There is much hullaballoo surrounding this film and it has been banned in England (and I’m sure other nations will follow suit). As a self-proclaimed local horror expert, I thought I’d weigh in on the topic.

DON’T THINK ABOUT FRUIT.

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